Nutrient Decline in Potatoes


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For decades food scientists have been recording the nutrient content of food and have noticed a disturbing decline in the nutritional content of small garden crops. Potatoes, for instance, show a decline in calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin along with an increase in vitamin C and iron. These potato-specific results are not statistically different from zero but the larger trend toward decline is significant. To learn more about these data and what you can do, check out our article here.

Nutrient Change for Potatoes

In the table below we provide the nutrient content of potatoes from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 measures for potatoes are adjusted for water content so that the 1999 and 1950 measures have similar content of dry matter. These nutrient indicators are based on just a few data points and none of the apparent differences are statistically different, however all together, they suggest that nutrients have declined in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Potatoes

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
78.7
79
Protein
1.9
2.07
Fat
.09
.1
Carbohydrates
18
18
Ash
.95
.89
Calcium
10.43
7
Phosphorus
53.07
46
Iron
.66
.76
Vitamin A
.
Thiamin
.1
.088
Riboflavin
.04
.035
Niacin
1.14
1.48
Vitamin C
16.11
19.7

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Licensed to Share: Creative Commons

The figures used to present decline in nutrients in garden crops on the Traditional Foods site, including change in potatoes, can be posted for noncommercial use with a linked attribution to this specific page or to our more general article here: nutrient decline.

Data Source

The historical values on the nutrient content of food has been collected and made available by the United States Department of Agriculture. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose work we describe on this site. We adjusted the 1950 potatoes nutrient content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be the same, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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